17 February 2010
Seaforth Highlanders numbering 1900-1906
I have previously published sample numbers and joining dates for the 1st and 2nd Battalions of the Seaforth Highlanders. I also mentioned that there were some peculiarities, and I'd like to expand upon that now.
Seaforth numbering trundles along quite happily and sequentially until March 1900, by which time the regiment was numbering in the 7300s. By the end of March, however, numbers in the 8200 range start appearing and these continue into 1901 when again, certainly by March 1901, numbers in the 9500 range start surfacing - and keep on going, at least until January 1902. By June 1902 (and probably a good deal earlier) we're back in the 7000s again and numbering continues sequentially from there.
Not for the first time, I am at a loss to explain why there were these big leaps in numbering. There doesn't appear to be any pattern as far as place of enlistment is concerned and neither does there in terms of the enlistment periods for which men were signing up. If anyone can suggest an explanation, or provide me with additional confirmed enlistment dates and corresponding numbers for the period below, please do so.
Here though, for what it's worth, are my rough estimates on Seaforth numbering for the period 1900 to 1906, this information based on the dates and numbers recorded on attestation papers of the time.
28th March 1900
31st March 1900 - 14th Jan 1901
Numbers in the range 8273 to 8515 are issued
25th March 1901 - 20th Jan 1902
Numbers in the range 9561 to 9911 are issued
5th June 1902 - 21st November 1903
Numbers in the range 7604 to 8188 are issued. Numbers 8273 to 8515 have already been issued in 1900 and 1901.
19th January 1904 to October 17th 1906
Numbers in the range 8689 to 9524 are issued. Numbers 9561 to 9911 have already been issued in 1901 and 1902.
20th November 1906
From here on in, numbering returns to a sequential pattern without gaps, albeit the Seaforths, A&S Highlanders and the Gordon Highlanders would abandon their number series in 1908 and commence a new series beginning at 1.
Attestation papers for all these numbers - and many more besides - are accessible on-line as part of a FREE 14 day trial with Ancestry.co.uk.
I've borrowed the photograph on this page from Roger Clarke's family history website. It shows 1822 Corporal Thomas Hunter Dawson Cheeper of the 4th Battalion, Seaforth Highlanders. Hunter Cheeper (as he was known) was born on the 8th February 1898 and judging by his number, joined the 4th Seaforths two or three days before Britain went to war in August 1914. He would have been sixteen years old at the time, and was probably no more than 17 or 18 years old when this photo was taken. Nevertheless, he arrived in France on the 7th November 1914 and appears to have served throughout, ending the war as Second Lieutenant, and staying on with the British Army. He would also serve his King and Country during WW2.
I also offer a comprehensive, fast and cost-effective military history research service. Follow the link for more information.